Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

The Yucca Mountain Project: Heater Testing:
The Single Heater Test

Schematic of Single-Heater Test FacilityObjectives

  1. Evaluate THMC coupled processes around a line heater source in fractured tuff.
  2. Develop testing methodologies and modeling approaches for high-temperature conditions.


  • Heating with a 5 m long, 4 kW heater lasted 9 months, starting in 1996 and ending in 1997.
  • Borehole sensing and cross-hole testing were used before, during, and after heating period.


  • Extent of dryout (about 1 m around the heater hole) was measured with geophysical techniques (ERT, GRP and neutron).
  • Condensate zone below the heater was found to be larger than above the heater horizon.
  • Temperature Response in the Single-Heater TestChemical composition of water collected during heating in packed borehole intervals was analyzed.
  • Characterization data by air-injection tests and mechanical displacement measurements located high-k flow paths.


  • Tsang, Y.W. and J.T. Birkholzer, "Predictions and Observations of the Thermal-Hydrological Conditions in the Single Heater Test", Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, vol. 38, 385-425, 1999.
For more information, please contact:

Jens Birkholzer
Earth Sciences Division
Phone: 510-486-7134